Tough Guys

Nov 11th

2008

Author By Bruce
CategoryPosted in BTS

Japan. Asakasa. 1998. Two members of the Yakuza, Japan's mafia. The Yakuza's 23 gangs are Japan's top corporate earners. They model themselves on American gangster fashion from the 1950s. © Bruce Gilden/Magnum Photos

I took the picture of these two Yakuza in a Ginza coffeeshop. I had a hard time not to find them but to keep an interpreter. I went through at least four, all women, because each time they agreed to do it but then gave it second thoughts and retracted for fear of the Yakuza! What I was thinking and saying: Can you please light up the cigarette again, again, again… Three times! And then I kept saying: “Hold it! Hold it!”